Worshipped on the first night of the Navaratri festival, Goddess Shailaputri is the form of Goddess Durga that signifies her birth as the absolute essence of Mother Nature. Shailaputri literally means ‘Daughter of the Mountains’. She rides a bull (Nandi) and holds a trident & lotus flower, symbolizing her absolute power and serenity, respectively.
Worshipped on the second night of the Navaratri festival, Goddess Brahmacharini is the form of Goddess Durga that signifies her role as a supreme authority in sacred knowledge, asceticism, and penance. The Goddess lives simply and humbly while in pursuit of great knowledge. Brahmavadinis in Hinduism are females who take after this Goddess by studying, preaching and teaching the sacred scriptures of Hinduism. Many sacred texts of Hinduism, including the Vedas, were partly composed by such women.
Worshipped on the third night of the Navaratri festival, Goddess Chandraghanta is the form of Goddess Durga that signifies her role as the demons threatening feminine that kills humanity & the one who ensures security of peace and prosperity for all her devotees. Her name literally means the ‘one who has a half-moon I shaped like a bell’. The sound of this bell is said to drive away all evil and bring security.
Worshipped on the fourth night of the Navaratri festival, Goddess Kushmanda is the form of Goddess Durga that signifies her role in creation. It is said that Goddess Kushmanda created the universe with merely her smile, which signifies the utter power of her Shakti (feminine/strength/energy). Riding a lioness and armed with various weapons, Goddess Kushmanda bestows health, wealth and happiness on all those who worship her.
Worshipped on the fifth night of the Navaratri festival, Goddess Skandamatha is the form of Goddess Durga that nines her role as a sig loving mother of Skanda, the Hindu God of War also known as Murugan, Karthikeya, and Subrahmanya. Those that worship Skandamatha not only receive her blessings but also those of Lord Skanda, who sits on the lap of Goddess Skandamata. She is also known as the Goddess of Fire.
Kathyayani / Katyayani:
Worshipped on the sixth night of the Navaratri festival, Goddess Katyayani is the form of Goddess Durga that signifies anger, vengeance and ultimate victory over evil. Goddess Katyayani is the one who killed the demon Mahishasura, who was threatening humanity and the divine. When the male deities could not defeat Mahishasura, Goddess Durga in the form of Kathyayni stepped in to kill him and rescue humanity. This narrative is often interpreted in Hindu traditions, particularly in Shakta Hinduism, to show the supremacy of feminine power over masculine power.
Worshipped on the seventh night of the Navaratri festival, Goddess Kalaratri is the form of Goddess Durga that signifies her role as a ferocious, fierce, and indescribably strong feminine that kills demons, including Sumbha and Nisumbha, who out of arrogance and sexism underestimated the power of the feminine before being killed by Goddess Kalarathri. She is depicted with very dark skin, showing the Hindu reverence for those with a dark complexion as they religiously embody strength to destroy evil.
Worshipped on the eighty night of the Navaratri festival, Goddess Mahagauri is the form of Goddess Durga that signifies her role as the feminine that bestows cleanliness, grace, and forgiveness. She relieves all sufferings of those who worship her and grants their wishes. She is shown with the Abhayamudra, which is a hand placement that is a sign of reassurance, peace, and protection for all those who see Goddess Mahagauri.
Worshipped on the ninth and final night of the Navaratri festival, Goddess Siddhidhathri is the form of Goddess Durga that signifies her role as the granter of various qualities and supernatural powers (siddhis). Goddess Siddhidatri is so powerful that even Lord Shiva, her husband, had to worship her to gain all the siddhis, and Goddess Siddhidatri even takes up half of Lord Shiva’s body in their Ardhanarishwara form.